Report: The BLS Employment Situation — April 2021

In this monthly blog post we’ll report on BLS Employment Situation data as it is released, for these industries: construction, manufacturing (including durable and non-durable goods), retail trade, warehousing and storage, real estate rental and leasing services, professional and business services (including legal services, accounting and bookkeeping services, architectural and engineering services, computer systems design and related services, and scientific research and design services, administrative and support services, and administrative support services – employment services), health care, leisure and hospitality, and government.
You can always find the full Employment Situation report on the BLS website.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers. Both the unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, were little changed in April. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).

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BLS Summaries by Industry

Construction: Employment in construction was unchanged over the month. Employment in the industry is up by 917,000 over the year but is 196,000 below its February 2020 level.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing employment edged down in April (-18,000), following gains in the previous 2 months (+54,000 in March and +35,000 in February). In April, job losses in motor vehicles and parts (-27,000) and in wood products (-7,000) more than offset job gains in miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing (+13,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in manufacturing is 515,000 lower than in February 2020.

Retail Trade: Retail trade employment changed little in April (-15,000), following a gain in the prior month (+33,000). In April, employment declined in food and beverage stores (-49,000), general merchandise stores (-10,000), and gasoline stations (-9,000). These losses were partially offset by employment increases in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+20,000); clothing and clothing accessories stores (+10,000); and health and personal care stores (+9,000). Employment in retail trade overall is 400,000 lower than in February 2020.

Warehousing and Storage: N/A

Real Estate Rental and Leasing Services: N/A

Professional and Business Services: Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services declined by 111,000 in April and is 296,000 lower than in February 2020. Business support services
lost jobs in April (-15,000), while architectural and engineering services and scientific research and development services added jobs (+12,000 and +7,000, respectively).

Health Care: Employment in health care changed little in April (-4,000), as a job gain in ambulatory health care services (+21,000) was largely offset by a job loss in nursing care facilities (-19,000). Health care employment is down by 542,000 since February 2020.

Leisure and Hospitality: In April, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 331,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in many parts of the country. More than half of the increase was in food services and drinking places (+187,000). Job gains also occurred in amusements, gambling, and recreation (+73,000) and in accommodation (+54,000). Although leisure and hospitality has added 5.4 million jobs over the year, employment in the industry is down by 2.8 million, or 16.8 percent, since February 2020.

Government: Federal government employment increased by 9,000 over the month.

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